three hulls, two people, one trip around the world…

Panama – Visit to Germany – Panama

The big gap between the blog entries came about because we were in Germany for 6 weeks.

There are still pictures from Portobello to add to the last blog entry. We stayed there for a few days before continuing to Linton Bay. Portobello lives up to its name: it is a pretty little harbour town on Panama’s Atlantic coast. Its main attraction is the black statue of Jesus in the church of San Felipe de Portobello.

The black statue of Jesus

Before we set off on our visit home, the SAN had to be lifted out of the water and stored on land. For this we sailed to the marina in Linton Bay. One day before our appointment, an old pirate ship weighing 110 tonnes was hanging from the large travel lift. The lift can lift up to 160 tons, but there were problems with one of the motors. What would happen to our appointment slot? The travel lift operator made several phone calls, and in the end the big ship was put back into the harbour basin. Our “lightweight” boat should not cause any problems, we were assured. The following day we were supposed to come at 9 am, then they said 10:45 am. Shortly after 1 pm we actually set off. The SAN dangled from two straps in the travel lift. A place was chosen. Only now did the discussion of the right support start. We need metal support trestles under the spars at the transition from the centre hull to the boom hulls, but at the yard were not enough of them. First, therefore, piles of wood were piled up to support the centre hull. However, the travel lift operator was not satisfied with this support. He thought the rump could dent. That would be OK for about a week, but not for the 7 weeks we were planning.

Some back and forth discussions, then it was decided to put the SAN back in the water. Fortunately, the marina still had space. So we had no choice but to moor the boat well. We prepared everything for the long stay. It can get quite windy, but the heavy downpours are the bigger problem. But someone from the marina will check the boat after a rain. It is true that mussels can now grow on the hull again, but in the Atlantic the rate of fouling is not as bad as in the Pacific and when we were hanging from the crane the hulls were cleaned anyway and looked quite good afterwards. We have taken good care of them lately. 🙂

Shortly before we left, the bananas were ripe.

We planned the trip to Germany as stress-free as possible. We took a taxi from Linton Bay to a hotel near Panama City’s Tocumen Airport on Sunday. The flight did not take off until Monday afternoon. We flew with Iberia via Madrid. Everything went smoothly, the landings were before the scheduled arrival time, transit in Madrid went quickly. Until – we landed in Hamburg! Here we stood in front of the baggage carousel and marvelled at 13 suitcases that must have been left over from another flight. Our luggage did not come …. and did not come …… and did not come. But suddenly: something happens, some suitcases pop out of the hatch onto the belt. One of them was even ours. Only – we had checked in two. Cautious enquiries as to what might have caused the delays were met only with a rude response that we should just wait. Welcome to Germany! After more than two hours, we had our two pieces of luggage (not all the luggage had left the plane yet) and could leave the airport. The only positive thing was that we could buy the 9 euro ticket for local transport at the machine in the luggage return hall, and we had plenty of time to punch our way through the menu to the right ticket. 😉

In Hamburg, we spent a lot of time with friends and family. We also used the pit stop for various visits to the doctor for check-ups and I got my two permanent tooth crowns. There was still a temporary solution from Mexico in my mouth. My dentist’s office had already dealt with the formalities by email. 

We couldn’t drive into the garage because there was building work for a model for an architecture study project going on.

Two weeks were spent in the beautiful town of Kappeln in Schleswig-Holstein. We want to move there when we give up our globetrotting and return to the Danish South Seas in terms of sailing. But that still has some time and can wait. 

First it was back to Panama. The flight from Hamburg was scheduled to take off at 7 am. After the experience of the outward flight, we were already standing in the queue in front of the baggage claim shortly after 4 am. We were in 8th place. This allowed us to go through the security check in peace and quiet. I had to be patted down again, my cargo trousers had too many bumps 😉 . My backpack was also opened. Only this time the security checkers were not unfriendly. One of them was lecturing another woman about what to put in the extra bag as liquids. Not in an educational way, of course, but saying, “I’ll tell you what counts as a liquid.” That was referring to a deodorant stick. So we were just lucky, the people at the controls haven’t changed.

The two flights went well. In Madrid, we arrived half an hour early. We had to make several attempts until the automatic reader recognised our passports, but at least I remembered that you have to take off the mask for the comparison. On the second flight from Madrid to Panama City, there were again the latest movies to watch. I watched “Downton Abbey – A new era” twice 🙂

Also at customs and entry to Panama we were not asked for a return ticket as other sailors had reported, but fingerprints from both hands were stored. 

In Panama City, the taxi from Linton Bay was waiting. He came with a different car than on the outward journey. This turned out to be inconvenient, as the tolls for the motorways were only paid for the main car. Therefore, we hurried over small and side roads, got caught in the rush-hour traffic jam in Panama City and Colon. It was a bit dangerous to drive unbelted on dark, narrow roads in heavy rain – once our wing mirror hit the mirror of an oncoming car. In the end, however, we arrived safely at our boat. The journey cost more than the outward journey – everything is getting more expensive.

Now it’s time to get used to the heat again. Unpack slowly. We won’t get out of the water straight away to paint the antifouling. We couldn’t have the boat lifted out yet anyway, because the travelift is broken and waiting for spare parts.

The crane is said to be intact again, but the people in the marina are busy inaugurating these new pods:

We therefor sailed to Shelter Bay. The Carry On is still there and there are better shopping facilities and ATMs where you can withdraw cash. Linton Bay is in the jungle, you have to bring cash with you. Shelter Bay Marina is also quite remote, but there is a bus connection to Colon. During our last stay at the marina, everything was closed down because of Corona. Now the pool, restaurant and barbecue area are open again. More about that in the next blog entry.

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